Division III Independence District wrestling: Cougars, Pirates have quintet punch tickets to state tournament

Mar. 2—It's a familiar song for Parker Pikor, but the dance is slightly different.

A state qualifier for Lake Catholic a year ago at 106, Pikor bumped up to 120 this season. He's adapted his style to be one that is more aggressive on the mat.

The change led him back to the district championship match at the Independence District in Division III with his path there consisting of all pins in under a minute.

"I was already a pretty big 106, so the jump itself wasn't too bad," Pikor said. "I've gone more into the philosophy of letting it fly. That's what I've really been working on. Brennan McCrone won a state title here a few years ago with that style, and that's something I've been adjusting to my style. I've been blessed to work with a talented room every day at Lake."

Pikor was joined by Tommy Slack (113), Joey Romano (132) and Danny Zmorowski (215) as Cougars that made it to the finals. Lake Catholic had five wrestlers advance to the state meet with Chance Wuhr at 106 joining the quartet.

Romano echoed Pikor's thoughts on the competitive room for Lake Catholic, with every practice feeling like a go-to-state match.

"I just try to wrestle in all positions," Romano said. "It's something that we work on a lot, no matter where you're at in a match to keep wrestling. I took advantage of the position at that point and was able to work it to a pin. It's great to have a competitive wrestling room day in and day out to prepare for those situations."

Perry entered the championship round with the team title lead at 154 points over Waynedale in second with 144.

The Pirates had five wrestler punch their tickets to the state tournament as well, led by Riley Rowan (126) and Chance Schlauch (144) wrestling for a district title.

Rowan worked an underhook to a snapdown and pancake to pin Waynedale's Riley Greathouse in the first period of his semifinal to set up a rematch with Crestwood's John Wrobel in the title match.

In search of his first district crown, Rowan knows creating control is important for his matches. He highlighted being able to work off of different ties to make it easier to prepare for those situations.

"The underhooks really help to get control and allow me to dictate the match," Rowan said. "It really opens up my opponents and allows me to create the angles for either shots or getting them to their back. Going for my first district title makes it a little easier of a final round for me. I don't necessarily need to worry about placement or positioning when it comes to next week."

Unlike his teammate, Schlauch worked from his feet for his trip to the finals. The sophomore recorded four takedowns in his semifinal off a myriad of setups for a 9-2 win over Tyler Paulus of Rootstown.

Schlauch has seen improvement in his other positions on the mat, but is still the most comfortable working from neutral.

"I know that I'm more confident on my feet," Schlauch said. "I know that how to create that movement and work the guy I'm going against. I capitalize on that and being able to create off of the small missteps and use it to my advantage. I'm excited to let it fly in the title match."

Berkshire and Beachwood also had one qualifier each in Alex Munn at 144 for the Badgers and Caleb Greenwood at 150 for the Bison.

Munn got the scoring started in his consolation semifinal with a first-period takedown of Issac Wittel of Loudonville, who he also beat in the first round of the tournament.

Munn gave up a stall warning later in the first along with a switch in the second. But after a standing switch of his own, Munn controlled the rest of the match on top.

He added a few turns to increase his lead en route to an 11-3 major decision to advance to the state tournament.

"I was kind of just minding my knee and being the most aware of that," Munn said. "When I saw the opening, I went for it and thankfully it didn't give out. I was able to punch it through and have control. When I can get my boot in, I'm way more confident. Instead of some wrestlers hanging on with their boots, I get more aggressive for those turns."

Greenwood recorded a pair of falls on his way to the district title match, which included a pin against Dominic Duvall of Rootstown in his semifinal.

The sophomore recorded a takedown off a fireman single on the edge of the mat in short time to take the lead. After Duvall recorded an escape to start the second period, Greenwood shot on a single leg and locked in a cradle to the fall at 3:11.

Caleb saw his brother Josh earn a state runner-up finish a season ago. That added even more fuel to his own fire to be able to continue adding to the Greenwood family history for the Bison.

"You have to be able to continue that pace," Greenwood said. "It's what I train for and how I'm able to keep it going from match to match. We push ourselves every day so when we come out here we can have the best six minutes, keeping that foot on the gas. I'm very proud to be a Greenwood and keep the family tradition going."